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Fines for Breaking Lifejacket Bylaw

Media Release

6 March 2014

Fines for Breaking Lifejacket Bylaw

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Harbourmaster has issued the first infringement fines for people breaking the bylaws requiring lifejackets to be worn.

Eight fines of $300 each have been issued to boaties who were seen off the coast of Napier not wearing lifejackets on board their boats.

The Navigation Safety Bylaws were reviewed in 2012 and require lifejackets to be worn by everyone on board a vessel 6 metres or less in length.

After a two year education programme about the lifejacket bylaws, the HBRC Harbourmaster is now taking legal action against anyone seen breaking the rules.

“Boaties have had plenty of information on the bylaws and enough time to buy suitable lifejackets for them and their passengers. Some people need to move past bravado and the ‘it’s never happened to me’ attitude and take responsibility for their family, their friends and themselves,” says Harbourmaster Phil Norman.

“When you get into trouble on a boat, it happens very quickly and in a very dangerous place - a lifejacket gives you a better chance of saving your life.”

The bylaws state that a boat must carry sufficient personal flotation devices for each person on board and that this is the responsibility of the person in charge of the craft. The bylaw also requires that a personal flotation device must be worn at all times on all craft of 6 metres or less and on all paddlecraft, when the craft is underway or preparing to become underway, which means the responsibility is with each person on board.

“In other words, if you are in charge of a boat, you must make sure you have enough lifejackets on board to fit everyone including children, and, as an individual on board, it is your personal responsibility to wear a lifejacket,” says the Harbourmaster.

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